Although it may be somewhat gimmicky, '3 Ways With...' is a great-looking cookbook. Ingredient-led - it gives a selection of recipes for each of 100 fridge, pantry or freezer basics - it has a simple layout. One artfully arranged photograph and three recipes per ingredient are all arranged on a plain white background. This not a book that will remain pristine in the kitchen for long.
The idea behind '3 Ways With...' is to offer recipes that work with the framework of the basic ingredients you already have on hand - things like pasta, kidney beans, oyster sauce, bacon, frozen pastry. Choose dried apricots and you can pick between a main dish (Moroccan Chicken with Apricots), a salad (Smoked Chicken, Apricot and Feta Salad) and a desert (Tipsy Apricots with Pistachio Yoghurt and Honey). Flick a few pages further and you get Walnut Goat's Cheese and Bean Salad, Waldorf Salad Thai-Style and Caramel Walnut Tart.
A lot of the book gets it very right. Winter Mash with Bacon and Sour Cream has a handful of readily available ingredients for a dish that should only take minutes to prepare and cook. Shell Pasta with Ricotta and Spinach or Paprika Risoni Hotpot also fall into these categories. Other of the recipes, however, need additions that take a little planning although Dobson - an Australian chef, food stylist and writer - has bolded the ingredients in each paragraph-style recipe for easy shopping.
A perfect gift for your design-obsessed friend who is likely to spend plenty of time with exclaiming over the pictures before noticing how useful the recipes actually are.
Buy '3 Ways with...' from the RTÉ eShop here.